SAG-AFTRA spoke out Friday against pornographic AI images of Taylor Swift that have been circulating on social media, and reiterated support for legislation to outlaw such images.
The actors’ union called the images “upsetting, harmful and deeply concerning.”
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“The development and dissemination of fake images — especially those of a lewd nature — without someone’s consent must be made illegal,” the union said. “As a society, we have it in our power to control these technologies, but we must act now before it is too late.”
The performers’ union has been following this issue for years, and has previously expressed support for state and federal laws that would make it illegal to distribute “deepfake” pornographic images that replicate someone’s likeness without consent.
The issue has become a hot topic in Washington this week thanks to the images of Swift that have circulated on X, formerly known as Twitter.
At the White House press briefing on Friday, a reporter asked if President Biden supported legislation to ban AI-generated porn images.
“It is alarming,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary. “We are alarmed by the reports of the circulation of images that you just laid out… There should be legislation, obviously, to deal with this issue.”
Rep. Joe Morelle, D-N.Y., introduced the Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act last year. Fran Drescher, the SAG-AFTRA president, applauded it at the time.
“Sexual abuse, whether occurring physically or digitally, should never be excused or permitted as ‘personal expression,’ and it should never be tolerated,” she said.
The union also supports broader legislation, the NO AI FRAUDS Act, that would prohibit the use of artificial intelligence to distribute fake replicas of real people without consent — regardless of whether the use was sexually explicit.
AI was one of the key issues in the SAG-AFTRA strike last year. The union obtained contract provisions that require both consent and payment for use of AI to digitally replicate an actor’s performance, though the contract did not stop studios from using a blend of performances to create “synthetic” actors.
“We support Taylor, and women everywhere who are the victims of this kind of theft of their privacy and right to autonomy,” the union said in its statement on Friday.
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